The purpose of this study was to examine whether isolated musical chords and chord progressions are capable of communicating basic emotions (happiness, sadness, and fear) and sensory perceptions of tension and dissonance to eighty-two university students differing in musical expertise. Participants were recruited from ULL’s psychology and music department, and were divided into three different groups based on their formal training in music. Participants listened to forty-six music excerpts and were asked to identify and rate the emotions they felt each stimulus was attempting to convey. Participants were also asked to rate how much tension and dissonance they experienced after each excerpt.
The results demonstrated that major chord progressions played in fast tempo more readily expressed happiness than minor and chromatic chord progressions. Minor chord progressions played in slow tempo were associated with sadness and were rated higher in tension and dissonance than major chord progressions. Chromatic chord progressions, regardless of tempo, expressed fear most reliable, and received higher tension and dissonance ratings than major and minor chord progressions. Furthermore, results showed that isolated major chords were perceived as the least tense, the least dissonant, and the happiest sounding. Isolated minor chords readily conveyed sadness, and were perceived as more tense and dissonant than majors. Additionally, isolated augmented and diminished chords were the most likely to express fear and were rated highest in tension and dissonance. Contrary to previous research findings, participants’ level of musical expertise influenced sensory and emotion perception ratings. Participants with three to four years of formal training outperformed experts and novices. Future research directions and possible applied implications of these finding are also discussed.
|Advisor:||Cech, Claude G.|
|Commitee:||DeWitt, Mark, MacGyvers, Valanne L., Perkins, Rick|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 56/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Music, Experimental psychology|
|Keywords:||Chord progression, Dissonance, Isolated triads, Perceived emotion, Tension|
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